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Equilibrium (2002)

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 107 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Imagine a place with no feeling or warmth, a place where no-one laughs or smiles, a place where the people are cold-hearted and without emotion. Now stop thinking about Dundee and turn your attentions to the nation of Libria, the fictional location of the unoriginal piece of sci-fi tosh that is Equilibrium.

In this dark totalitarian land, emotions are against the law and, just to make sure nobody sneaks a fly grin, everyone's made to take a daily dosage of mood-killing drugs. 'Sense offenders' are tracked down and exterminated lickety-split by 'The Grammaton Cleric', a new arm of the law who'll more than probably bore such offenders to death should they run out of bullets.

Starring as the high-ranking law enforcer John Preston, Christian Bale effectively performs a spot-on impression of Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, right down to the long coat, FX-aided fighting skills and monotone drawl. When Preston misses his medication one day, he suddenly turns into the sensitive type and starts listening to Beethoven, re-arranging his desk ornaments and feeling a bit icky at the sight of blood. He even starts driving around with a puppy in the boot of his car, such is the complete and utter stupidity of this heap of nonsense.

The film borrows constantly from sci-fi classics of the past, but quite impressively fails to either build on or live up to any of them. We're supposed to side with Preston's struggle as he develops into a tender, loving 'new man' – yet he manages to make just enough time, between sniffing perfume from a red ribbon and lying on the pavement weeping, to slaughter his workmates and cut his partner's face off with a machete.

It's Got: Brian Its a puppet Conley in an inexplicable cameo.

It Needs: To dump the preachy, perma-serious approach and inject some degree of originality.


Laughably bad sci-fi noir.